MeteoBridge and MeteoStick products

Overview

Price guide

Definitive pricing for these SB products is available from our online shop & current price-lists, but guide prices (inc VAT) are:

MeteoBridge = £139
MeteoBridge Pro Black = £259
MeteoBridge Pro Red = £329
MeteoStick = £149
MeteoBridge + MeteoStick = £279

Smartbedded (SB) offer a range of products designed to provide enhanced data handling for automatic weather stations of various makes. The MeteoHub software program, originally launched in 2007, is probably the best-known existing SB product, but the innovative MeteoBridge and MeteoStick products are now available and are designed to deliver two main capabilites:

  • A simple, turnkey option for uploading weather data from many different models of weather station to websites and to various weather communities such as Wunderground (MeteoBridge);
  • Advanced data-handling features which are not achieved easily or cost-effectively by other hardware devices and software programs (MeteoBridge and MeteoStick);

All of the SB software products (MeteoBridge, MeteoHub and MeteoPlug) are written to run on tiny, self-contained and cheap Linux-based computers, which are are affordable to use as a dedicated weather computer and which use so little power that they can be left running 24/7 without worry.

MBschemaMeteoBridge — the specific SB program we’re focusing on here — is only sold pre-installed on a small computer device and so MeteoBridge is effectively the combination of software and its hardware host. MeteoBridge provides an easy-to-use unit for uploading live weather data to communities such as WOW and Wunderground, but also provides advanced features for more experienced users, including website uploads, sophisticated alarms, email, Twitter, webcam uploads etc.

NEW MeteoBridge Pro is now here! Basic functions are similar to standard MeteoBridge but with many additional enhancements and features, including a MeteoBridge Pro Red version which contains full receiver circuitry for Davis wireless transmitters (MeteoStick is effectively built in). See below for further details.

MeteoStick is a novel hardware product. It is a wireless receiver for weather data specifically from Davis wireless weather sensor transmitters, manufactured in the form factor of a USB stick and is a product which offers some unique data handling features.

MeteoBridge and MeteoStick are each described in more detail below.

MeteoBridge

Compatibility: Most affordable AWS makes/models

MR3020MeteoBridge (MB) is a Linux software program which is sold pre-installed on a tiny Linux computer (see image right for a typical MB device – this one is about 3″ (70mm) square to give an idea of size). So, when buying MeteoBridge you’re effectively buying a small, hardware device, dedicated to running the MB software. (Don’t be put off by the mention of Linux – you need to know absolutely nothing about Linux to use an MB unit. All MB configuration is done using a web interface – see below).

The MB device is a tiny, low power-consumption unit that, once the initial set-up is complete, does not need any routine attention – whenever you power up or reboot the unit, it will restart the MB software automatically and will resume performing the uploads previously configured. It should therefore operate almost as a zero-maintenance unit (other than on occasions when you might choose to change its settings) being left on 24/7 and using so little power as to be negligible, simply working away in the background and performing all your Internet weather uploads.  Note also that the MB unit is WiFi enabled and so provides a way of connecting your weather data into your home or office network via WiFi.

The MB unit receives its data input from your weather station console (or data logger) via a USB connection and its output is then connected onwards to your Internet connection either via a cabled connection or via WiFi. When using MB, no USB connection to a separate PC or other computer is needed.

MeteoBridge is compatible with many common makes of weather station, including Davis, Oregon, Fine Offset (Maplin) etc. For a full list of compatible models, please check this link.

Multiple data feeds: Please remember that most consoles and loggers have only one single USB output and so if your weather station is connected to the MB unit, it cannot also be connected to a PC. The main concept behind the MB unit is to provide a simple dedicated means of uploading data to various websites. If you might wish also to run a range of local PC weather software in addition then there is a range of options. For Davis stations only, the latest version of MeteoBridge does provide a pass-through by which the logger data can also be received on one single additional PC, with the data being passed across the network from MB unit to PC (ie and not via the usual USB connection). The software program running on the PC must be able to accept logger data formatted as if being received from a WeatherlinkIP logger on port 22222. Note that this data pass-through is a relatively new feature and is perhaps best regarded as a beta feature for now. Another alternative for Davis stations is to use a separate MeteoStick (see below) receiver to feed data to the MB device and to retain any existing logger/PC operating as now. A further option for wireless stations is to operate a second and independent console/logger to provide the data feed to other software.)

MBinterface300Note that the USB input and network output are the only cable connections that need to be made to the MB device (other than a power cable from the AC mains adapter). No keyboard, mouse or monitor connections are needed at all. Instead, any changes that may occasionally be needed to the MB settings are made via any other PC or tablet on your network via a simple web browser interface – see image right (click for a larger version). This image shows the ‘Live Data’ tab enabled, but the other tab options can be seen across the top of the image.

So, the commonest use for Meteobridge will be to provide a simple, low-power means of uploading data to weather communities such as Weather Underground, CWOP and WOW (the UK Met Office network), but also including many other open networks and allowing network connection via WiFi as well as cable. (NB ‘Open’ networks meaning services which welcome uploads from third-party software; this obviously cannot include proprietary services like weatherlink.com which only allow uploads from their own eg Davis software and devices.)

But, in addition, MB also provides a set of advanced features called ‘Push Services’. These allow users with slightly more technical interest and background to configure four types of additional service:

  • Upload messages and data via Twitter or email,
  • Upload data in customised, template-driven formats to websites and SQL databases on (usually remote) servers;
  • Upload images from compatible webcams;
  • Set sophisticated alarm/alert thresholds with notifications by email or text message.

These Push Services are a powerful and sophisticated feature and in the hands of an interested user permit a wide range of advanced applications to be developed, giving some features that are simply not readily possible with other software. Further details about these Push Services can be found in the MeteoBridge wiki. Alternatively, prospective buyers can contact us with any specific questions.

MeteoBridge Pro

Now in stock and shipping as from 4th Jan 2016. Limited stocks only as yet.

MB Pro Red image
MB Pro Red

MeteoBridge Pro (MB Pro) is essentially a super-MeteoBridge device – it does everything that the original MB can do but also offers many additional features. The key enhancements are:

  • The MB Pro software platform is hosted on its own miniature hardware (rather than  using some other host unit such as the TP-Link MR3020) and so looks quite different to the original MB;
  • The dedicated and customised hardware allows a much neater and higher-performance installation, with built-in (but demountable) higher-gain antennas for wireless functions, a small built-in text display, no need of separate USB hubs etc;
  • MB Pro has substantially more memory than the original MB, including built-in access to 8GB USB memory, while still consuming minimal power, and this key difference enables many more software features to be added;
  • Available in two models: Black (standard) and Red with built-in MeteoStick circuitry allowing direct reception of data from Davis wireless transmitters.

Overall, the main functional advantage of MB Pro is its greater computing capability made possible by the much larger memory, which gives it the potential to perform many tasks beyond the reach of the original MB. It will take a little time before the software potential of the Pro is fully exploited, but updates to the MB Pro’s software are free and automatic (on reboot). And as the Pro’s user community expands, so  will the range of novel applications and downloadable templates & other community resources also doubtless grow.

There are many potential applications of the MB Pro ranging from its use as a supplementary component of overall data handling and display in a more traditional AWS system through to a set-up where the Pro unit becomes the primary element of data and display. An example of the latter type of system would include:

  • Davis wireless sensors providing the outside weather sensing;
  • An MB Pro Red unit acting as the sole data receiver indoors (ie no console necessary) and as the data hub;
  • The small display on the Pro showing an always-on readout of key weather parameters;
  • The WiFi output of the MB Pro providing a live feed of weather data for local viewing on eg tablets and phones via web browser templates such as WDL, Steelseries gauges etc;
  • The MB Pro handling sophisticated uploads of weather data, for example to Internet communities such as WUnderground and WOW and also managing more comprehensive data uploads to personal or custom websites on remote web servers;

Further details can be found in the MeteoBridge Pro datasheet and in the MeteoBridge Pro manual.

MeteoStick

Compatibility: Davis wireless only

Overview

MS_USBstandMeteoStick (MS) is a revolutionary new product. It is a receiver for wireless data from Davis Vantage sensor transmitters, including all transmitters in the VP2 range and the Vue sensor transmitter. (MS is obviously not compatible with Davis cabled stations.)

MeteoStick (MS) is a revolutionary new product. It is a receiver for wireless data from Davis Vantage sensor transmitters, including all transmitters in the VP2 range and the Vue sensor transmitter. (MS is obviously not compatible with Davis cabled stations.)

MeteoStick is manufactured in the form of a transparent USB memory stick (see image below right – click to enlarge) and therefore simply needs to plug into the USB socket on a PC or other small computer in order to provide a data feed to the computer and also to draw power for itself. The orange element to the right of the MS unit is an external stiff wire antenna. The MS unit can also be plugged into a cabled USB socket (see left), which will achieve the best wireless range because the MS is removed from the immediate vicinity of the computer.

MeteoStick clearly does not have a display of its own and so can only act as a data receiver when connected to a computer. In this sense, it offers comparable capabilities to a Davis Envoy console, but note that it plugs directly into a computer (or USB socket) and so replaces both Envoy and the Weatherlink logger that would otherwise be required for connecting Envoy and PC.

meteostick300In fact, MeteoStick can receive data from any combination of Davis transmitters on the eight available wireless channels and so the MS unit is closer to the Envoy8X than the plain Envoy unit. This multi-transmitter capability makes the MS unit a potentially very powerful hardware device when used with innovative software solutions. MeteoStick does have a high-quality, built-in sensor for atmospheric pressure and so can generate barometer readings. (NB MeteoStick does not have any inbuilt logging capacity and so must pass received data directly to a computer such as the MeteoBridge unit described above. Experimental support for use of MeteoStick with Davis wireless repeaters, a feature which was not previously available, has just (March 2015) been introduced in a new firmware upgrade – please contact us for further details if you might be interested in using this capability.)

It’s important to recognise that MeteoStick has its own specific data protocol or API and so can only pass data to software programs that have a driver or interface for this API. To be clear, MS uses a very different API from the standard Davis API and so is not automatically going to be compatible with programs that cater only for the standard Davis interface. At present, MeteoStick caters for two types of software application:

  • All of the other SB software products (MeteoBridge – see above, MeteoHub and MeteoPlug) are fully compatible with a data feed from MeteoStick. MeteoBridge is probably an ideal companion to MeteoStick because the combination provides a fully autonomous unit able to support uploads to Weather Underground (including RapidFire), to WOW and to various other websites and databases;
  • The API for MS is fully published (see the MeteoStick PDF manual and so any user with programming or scripting skills can easily write their own software. Moreover, the sensor data is available at the level of the individual transmitter packet types, which gives more granularity and flexibility in processing the sensor data;

We do also expect that other established software programs are likely to add support for MS in the coming months.

Potential Applications

Meteostick is a fascinating new product, but one that will be unfamiliar as yet to many users, so perhaps we can suggest a few potential  applications. In general, we recommend using MS in addition to a standard Davis console so that you retain a local real-time LCD display. We also suggest that you’ll find the combination of MS with MeteoBridge as a very flexible and cost-effective alternative to running a second console/logger for scenarios where the data feed from a first console/receiver cannot deliver the full range of uploads and features that may be required. Potential applications include:

MS+MB can provide services that conventional Davis Weatherlink does not support, such as automatic uploads to the UK Met Office’s WOW service, reliable Wunderground RapidFire uploads, fully flexible alarms or alerts via email, Twitter etc;
MS+MB can also receive data from transmitter combinations that cannot be accessed by standard VP2 and Vue consoles. For example, an anemometer transmitter CAN be fitted with solar and UV sensors (as well as anemometer) and the data all received by the MB unit. (Indeed, an IM Sunshine Hours recorder could also be attached to the rain gauge input);
The combination of MS+MB can be linked into an existing WiFi network using the WiFi option of MB;
As noted above, the MS unit offers considerable scope for users to write their own custom software;